Our beautiful Miss January 2012 is my ever adorable friend, Trish Blair with her unique and wonderful take on vintage, sewing and styling !!
What does Vintage mean to you?
Vintage means to me anything that’s from the70’s and older.
What was it that first prompted your interest in Vintage Culture?
My first brush with the 50’s came through my grandmother, she travelled to the states during that time. She always carried an old fashioned purse and a bamboo handled knitting bag and wore a coat with a brooch! She had the amazing Barsony style lamp in her home – It was a gorgeous lady in a canoe, with red and white shade – she gave me some lovely printed 50’s fabric – boats with moody colours – teal, black and purple and some jewellery that she bought there. I think since she died I have found myself drawn to 50’s things.
I have been shopping in op shops since I was a student (I studied Fashion Design) because it was very cheap – those days are gone! In Wellington, New Zealand where I grew up, there was a great local op shop that I would visit. From there I amassed had the most amazing handbag, hat and hatpin collection from the 50’s and 60’s. Unfortunately when I moved to Australia, with a suit case and my sewing machine in ’92, I had to leave it all behind.
Since moving to Sydney, I was invited to the 50’s fair for the first time back in 1998! I loved it and have gone pretty much every year since, even with a month old baby in a sling! This has really sparked my interest. We didn’t really have a rockabilly scene in Wellington (and anyway – I hung out with Goths in the 80’s!). I was amazed by the commitment to the look and the authenticity.
What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day? In what ways?
I love the Fifties and am learning about the Forties.
I adore Mid-Century design, the architecture, the atomic legs on the furniture, the lucite handbags, the big dresses, tiki style and the graphic art. Post war optimism and energy sparked an incredible time for design – and the possibilities and creativity seemed endless.
No I don’t live it every day! I don’t have the time to do the full hair and make-up – I work and have two kids! I also struggle with getting the hair right (James at Sterling Hair did my hair the day of these photos). I do try to incorporate a vintage piece in my outfit everyday whether it’s a brooch or a necklace.
Our home is decorated in an eclectic way with items from many eras scattered throughout from 50’s and 60’s retro, Australiana, Kiwiana, PNG tribal, too, I would rather be practical than a purist. My husband doesn’t mind my creativity – as long as he gets his boy toys - we compromise
Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever!
I think it has to be my collection of Vintage Sewing patterns they are so inspiring. I have a good number that I use as inspiration for my sewing projects. I usually have to alter the pattern to fit and it is a challenge to find fabric to use – I search op shops and Ebay for genuine fabric – or use what is widely available in fabric shops, some of the stretch sateen prints are lovely, are easy to sew, and you can get a nice fit easily. I don’t really have a problem with making "new" vintage – some vintage garments get quite tired looking, and many are tiny! Finding garments in my size is even harder, sewing is more affordable.
Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?
As a bit of a textiles nerd the diversity of the designs, in textiles and clothing, are especially so interesting to me – and seem to be of endless variety. As a designer – my eyes are always hungry to see something new. The fabrics such as 40’s tropical florals and 50’s atomic prints on barkcloth, the painterly floral cottons, the ugly but beautiful mottled browns and olives of vintage scarves, they really float my boat!
Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?
I think follow your heart. I think if you love something, whether it’s a style or a look, don’t worry about what others think. You will not please everybody, – so you might as well enjoy yourself!
Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do.
I am married to an Aussie and we have two kids. We are doing up our 60’s designed house in Sydney’s North. I hate cooking but I love to sew. I recently started blogging over at www.quietvintagesewing.wordpress.com – I love connecting with people who like vintage and or sewing – I hope you take a look sometime.
My twitter handle is trishblairsews and I try and put up a little snap every day of vintage pieces around the house. I just do it to amuse myself.
It’s a dream of mine to produce a range of patterns for vintage clothing. Things that are hard to find, but appealing and beautiful, and in your size!
Finally, what or who inspires you and why?
Audrey Hepburn – such style and such compassion. I am also inspired by Mena Trott of www.thesewweekly.com check out her vintage style!